Accordingly, on June 15, 2005, with 14 other members of the Heralds of the Gospel, Msgr. João was ordained a Priest in the Basilica of Our Lady of Carmel in São Paulo. For the building up of this priestly branch of his work, he founded the Clerical Society of Apostolic Life Virgo Flos Carmeli. Approved by His Holiness Benedict XVI on April 21, 2009, it now comprises 161 clerics and over 300 seminarians.
With the priestly branch, the activities of Msgr. João took on a much wider scope. Participating in his tireless zeal, the Herald priests have undertaken the conquest of souls around the world: they attend the sick in homes and hospitals, hear Confessions in parishes, preach and provide catechesis, reintegrate families into communion with the Church… Meticulous beauty in gestures during liturgical celebrations, orthodoxy of doctrine and, above all, the unblemished practice of virtue are points that most evince the uprightness and discipline of Msgr. João. Enthused by his example, it is easy for them to imitate him.
To aid needy ecclesial works, Msgr. João created, within the Heralds of the Gospel association in Brazil, the Mercy Help Fund, which collects donations through direct mail.
In the same apostolic spirit, he founded the “Heralds of the Gospel” magazine, with a circulation of almost one million monthly copies in four languages, and the academic journal Lumen Veritatis.
Of special note among the over 200 books and articles he has published in five continents, are: “Mother of the Good Council” (1992 and 1995), São Paulo-New York, published in Portuguese, Italian, English and Albanian; “Dona Lucilia” (1995 and 2013), Rome-São Paulo, published in Portuguese, Spanish and English; “Pequeno Ofício da Imaculada Conceição Comentado [The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception Commented]” (1997 and 2010), São Paulo, in 2 volumes; “Fatima, Aurora of the Third Millennium” (1998 – Best Seller), published in Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian, French and Polish, with over two million copies distributed in over 30 countries; the collection “New Insights on the Gospels” (2012-2014), Rome-São Paulo, in 7 volumes, published in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and English.
All these works reveal great theological richness and depth, meriting praise from high-ranking dignitaries of the Roman Curia and from the Episcopate in general. A lover of beauty as a reflection of God, Msgr. João has built several churches in polychromatic Gothic style, choosing every detail of the colour combinations, forms and stained glass. Particularly outstanding among these is Our Lady of the Rosary in Caieiras, São Paulo, solemnly dedicated on February 24, 2008 by his Eminence Cardinal Franc Rodé, and later raised to a Minor Basilica, on April 21, 2012.
Additionally, the constitution and musical performance of the numerous choirs and orchestras of the Heralds, the designing of chalices, monstrances and other sacred objects, the creation of religious habits, the style of the monasteries and the beautiful layout of books and magazines are so many other fruits of his incomparable artistic sense, which has become increasingly supernatural over the years.
In 2008, just three years after his ordination, Msgr. João was appointed by Benedict XVI as Honorary Canon of the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, and Protonotary Apostolic. On August 15, 2009, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the same Holy Father, in recognition of his work for the Holy Church, conferred upon Msgr. João, by the hands of his Eminence Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal, one of the highest honours granted by the Pope for distinguished service to the Holy Church and the Roman Pontiff.
On that solemnity, his Eminence Cardinal Rodé declared: “In presenting you with the medal with which the Holy Father wished to reward your merits, the words of St. Bernard at the beginning of his treatise ‘De laude novae militiae’ come to mind: ‘We hear that a new kind of chivalry has recently appeared on the earth.’ These words could also apply to the present moment. Indeed, thanks to Your Excellency, a new chivalry, not secular, but religious, has arisen with a new ideal of sanctity and a heroic commitment to the Church.
In this undertaking, born in your noble heart, we cannot but see a special grace given to the Church, an act of Divine Providence in view of the needs of today’s world.”